13th July 2017

Read The Original 

“…These people come near to me with their mouth and honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up of rules taught by men.”
Isaiah 29:13 (NIV UK)

I wonder who it was who first thought of drinking tea? Did he drop his leaves by accident into boiling water? Or was he challenged by his rather silly companions into daring to drink a concoction that might have killed him? And the origin of tea drinking is not the only miraculous revelation lost to us in the mists of time. The development of today’s English language is much akin, and certainly something to be celebrated. And despite statements to the contrary across the Channel, English is set to stay as number one in the babylon of tongues.

Recently I was reading an early academic who had come to the conclusion after long exposure to the original, that English was closer to Hebrew than any other language today and that, therefore, in his words, “the best language into which Hebrew can be translated.”

There is today much preoccupation with getting as close to the original as possible, even introducing newly-discovered texts to get closer to the truth. Given that the earliest surviving complete Hebrew texts date well into the 400s ad, one might think that these would help. One observer writing on this very subject, perhaps a little tongue in cheek, opined that had modern scholars spent even half their time try to understand their existing texts, rather than spending inordinate efforts to retrieve other texts, often incomplete and rejected centuries ago by those writing on Christian and Jewish texts, they might have done better.

Today many Christians spend so much time reading other things than the Bible. Other books and magazines, or watching charismatic preachers on the God channels. These can be helpful, of course, but there’s nothing like reading and studying the Book. And it seems that fewer and fewer Christians are doing this. Yes, we may have innumerable versions on our mobile phone or Kindle, but there’s nothing like getting stuck into the meat of the Scriptures.

So, next time you have half-an-hour to spare, why not read the original, rather than looking at someone else’s take on it? And if you find that irksome, you can these days download audio versions and have someone read it to you—over a cup of tea, of course!

Eternal Father, you have given us your Word, but so many neglect the Scriptures; you have given us your instructions, but too many are heedless in obedience and understanding. Help us, holy Father, not only to hear you, but to listen to you. We pray in Jesus’ name.

Study by John Stettaford


About the Author:
John Stettaford is an Elder in the Reading Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Reading
Prospect School,
Room A1 (Main Building)
Honey End Lane

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11am

Local Congregational Contact:
John Stettaford
Phone: 01923-241426
Email: pastor@wcg-reading.org.uk

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